Frequently Asked Questions
How to get the MOST out of my LOTUS Mouthpiece? (video)
Our mouthpieces are just plug & GO! Instant upgarde. But here's something that might help you play better, period, as well as unlock 100% of the mouthpiece's potential.
What happened to your Plus & Standard Models?
Short Answer: We've come to the conclusion, from years of observing players on our mouthpieces, that it's actually best for nearly everybody if we aim for a happy medium between our two previous intonation settings. Our new mouthpieces can be most easily described as a "forgiving" Plus Model. Trust us, you'll love it!
More Detailed Answer: If you're familiar with our 1st generation mouthpieces, you'll know that most of them were available in two versions (except for the biggest cups). That gave players the choice of slightly different intonation settings, or ways of aiming at the note targets; mostly noticeable above and below the staff.
We did this in an attempt to provide a "perfect" solution for
every player regardless of their technique, particularly with respect to physical tension.
(We're not the first to offer a solution on that topic, but we did it better than any other maker -- aside from the intonation settings, the mouthpieces played identically.)
After 3 years of feedback from clients
and potential clients, and our own nonstop play-testing and research, we've come to understand that there really is an intonation 'sweet spot' that provides the optimal playing experience for pretty much everyone.
We'd describe this sweet spot as the confiuration which magnetizes you to where the notes of the harmonic series
(particularly the octaves) slot perfectly in tune -- while also giving you the freedom to move the pitch by +/- 7 cents both up or down with ease.
* When you're playing the 3rd scale degree in a chord, for instance, which is better played a little low...
* Or you need to match your colleagues'
(slightly suspect) intonation for the greater good within the ensemble...
...this flexibility is extremely important.
Our Standard Model mouthpieces had a built-in handicap essentially, to feel familiar for players who are accustomed to dealing with compressed intonation and don't care to change their technique in the slightest.
Whereas our Plus Models were configured for players to aim
(even "press down") quite low on the pitch in the upper register. And while this does encourage a healthy approach to bodily tension and alignment, the tradeoff is that playing
SHARP !! can often happen quite a lot if you're not very careful.
For our 2nd generation mouthpieces, we aimed for the perfect middle ground between those two configurations, and designed them to be most easily described as a "forgiving" Plus Model. They're very, very easy to play in tune, and also flexible enough to let you move notes where you need.
We've conducted extensive play-testing of this new intonation setting with players of all skill levels, and the results are unmistakably clear: We have a winner.
Novices and masters alike experience superior intonation in real-world playing scenarios with these mouthpieces. That's why we felt confident enough to go with just one intonation setting, and also why we're willing to offer such a generous return policy. We feel extremely confident that you'll find these 2nd generation LOTUS mouthpieces help you play more in tune than ever before.
Can I Order a Custom Mouthpiece Rim?
At least for now -- No, sorry, we do not offer a custom rim-copying service.
We've updated the contour of our rims for the XL & L cups, adding a little extra bite, which was the only request we recieved enough of to warrant a re-design solution.
It's possible that we could expand into a scenario where this is more feasible in the future, but at the moment, it's not something we can devote ourselves to, considering the time and cost involved.
We encourage you to try our mouthpieces as they are. And if you still
really do feel like you
need a different rim shape, feel free to send us a message to let us know. We'll make a note of your feedback, and if enough people ask for the same thing, we'll be much more likely to introduce a solution.
How Best to Acclimate to the RAPA 4-Valve design?
Coordinating the use of your 4th valve is quite easy. To begin with, it's already more comfortable than a 4th piston, and using your left thumb is will feel natural in no time.
For exercises, start by playing any scale studies you like. Just make sure to play them down in the pedal register. Isolate simple patterns and repeat them many times to build familiarity.
Also, work on bridging the pedal register to the rest of your range. Play long, sweeping scales and arpeggios from the bottom to the top, and top to bottom. It's a relaly healthy thing to do anyway, and
way more fun with all those extra notes!
For musical repertoire, there's endless inspiration to be found in pieces written for clarinet, cello, etc. There are so many wonderful concertos, sonatas. And for Jazz players to be able to play every note in the alto sax range?!... Time to break put that OmniBook! Plus you can play a ton of tenor sax language as well. priceless.
For Jazz players, it's great to start with alto saxophone solos, which are usually in our range except for the addition of pedal F, E & Eb. The Charlie Parker Omni-Book, Coltrane solos,
What Makes LOTUS Mouthpieces different? (video)
How To Break-In My New Valves? (video)
Can I Order a Custom Throat Size?
Currently, we do not offer custom throat sizes.
We really encourage you to try our mouthpieces as they were designed before making any judgements about whether the throat size will feel good to you.
There are multiple parameters that determine how a mouthpiece feels to blow through, and the throat is only one of them.
* the shape just before and after the throat,
* the length of the throat,
* the shape of the backbore in general,
* and the gap the mouthpiece makes in your horn -- these all influence the feeling of resistance and airflow.
We've done a huge amount of play-testing with players ranging from superheroes to novices, and we've settled on the
precise, complex geometry of each mouthpiece -- a delicate balance -- based on identifying what clearly felt and sounded best for players of all levels.
Sure, there will always be exceptions, but at this stage in our company's development, and for the sake of maintaining a streamlined production and remarkably affordable prices, we need to focus on the 99% of folks who are absolutely in love with how these designs feel and perform.
Don't worry, none of our mouthpieces have excessively large throats and none of them will eat you alive. We feel quite confident that even if the throat measurement is different than what you're accustomed to, if you give them a try, you'll love them!
Which Flugelhorn Shank Sizes for do you offer?
Our Flugelhorn Mouthpieces are made with the LARGE SHANK (or "American Shank")
This is currently the only shank-type we offer. If you're in need of a different shank, please send us a message. We will be offering more shanks later in 2021. Our plan is to produce "Small" & "French" shanks, but we'll prioritize which one(s) to produce based on the number of requests we receive.